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Several year-end lists for 2012, and various reviews, called the material on this split the best Canadian output if the year, trumping even the ever-popular Revenge. Along with the blinding eponymous debut by Paroxsihzem I'd have to agree it is the kream of the kvlt krop. Certainly the best split of the year. No prisoners are taken. It's one of those mandatory, specially recorded, no-bullshit split albums where each band makes every effort to dominate and conquer.
Nuclear War Now! Productions had a press release last year in which they coined the word 'vortextural', on reference to some band I can't remember right now. That seems to sum up Adversarial's side of the split (dubbed "Leviathan") very nicely. Their previous output has been solid, with the EP Prophetic Plain of Abyssal Revelation (containing their demo Thralls) in particular marking them as a significant force in untempered death metal fury, but the three songs here, which I have listened to countless times, have made them a band I will follow slavishly from now on. The booming and ominous bass noise and chaotic yet highly technical guitars create a dissonant, raging current that threatens to swallow all light.
Aptly, their first contribution is named 'Swirling Chaos that Swallows Horizons'. From the beautifully atmospheric ambience of its opening, to the raging and precise machinations of guitarist (also vocalist) C.S., the song immediately outstrips previous efforts with a bowel-churning depth and striking instrumental talent shown. Gurning, rough low growls, shattering drumming and thoughtful pacing enhance this abrasive brute force. Speaking of the drumming, no longer does the snare drum suffer from the overwhelming pong-pong-pong that, for some, might have spoilt other detonations by the outfit. The production is ideal, the best they've had, allowing me to marvel erectly at their abilities.
'Into The Waning of Twilight's Death Ocean' manifests esoteric and enveloping moments of dissonant melody and atmosphere, in keeping with the overall theme and concept of the split entire. The conclusion of 'Spiraling Towards the Ultimate End' is ascendant, amorphous and amoral melodic noise, a flash of true earworm genius revealing the musical aptitude of these fucks to those who still haven't figured out how good they are from the denser riffing apparent.
The whole CD or LP or whatever you have links up brilliantly not just in overall concept but musically too, the two bands moving through different moods and playing off one another with a better sense of cohesion than most single bands have within their own sound, let alone in tandem with someone else's. (seriously what are these Canadian bastards drinking) Antediluvian (side "Lucifer") pick up right where Adversarial left off, wielding very tight blasts and the far deeper trademark growls of Haasiophis. There's a sort of bass-plucking weirdness that breaks the song at one point; bracketed on either side by blasts of ferocity pretty much unprecedented in Antediluvian's catalogue of EPs and splits. The full-length debut, I am not sure, I haven't heard the fucking thing. At any rate, the threatening and morose ambience continues to define the split.
With the second song, the wonderfully named 'Dissolution Spires', the Albertan monsters cycle jerkily between short blasts and earthy death doom, summoning a more sepulchral tone in common with stuff I have heard. Less propulsive than the first song they uttered, and in keeping with the material I've experienced from them, they follow their adversaries (bahahaha, fuck me) on this split by invoking darker and darker atmospheres throughout the sick pilgrimage undertaken. So the (again, brilliantly titled) 'Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I Am That I Am)' runs the gamut and back from merciless pounding to truly massive, funereal death doom. And their drummer really shows off his chops here, his rolls and double bass abuses are amazing.
Adversarial is clearly the star of this split, and although I still prefer the heaving aural sepulchres intoned by the likes of Impetuous Ritual, Grave Miasma and last year's Muknal debut, Antediluvian are no doubt among those heavyweights even if they are not the best of them. And this here is stunning material, on the back of which I will be investigating their album about the Cervix and which will hopefully pre-empt more full-lengths or at least further EPs that will send them steaming further up in my esteem. Nuclear War Now! continue to dominate and define the filthier end of the death metal spectrum, proving why they are surrounded by such admiration and mythos by continuing to release beautifully well executed slabs of nasty such as this. Not one second wasted by either band. Flawless. Essential. Fuck.
Word has it that Adversarial are soon due to release a new split with that fantastic band Imposer. I can't fucken wait. Let the barbaric grave open once more, and again and again.